I would like to make two caveats before I start. The first is that I don’t have internet at my house right now so there is no fact checking happening here. The second is that, while I have done a little bit of reading on queer theology I have done much more on feminist liberation theology and they are certainly not one in the same. But since heterosexism comes form the sexism of our society… what the hell, I’ll give it a go.
I sent this into the facebookosphere: Somebody give me a blog topic! Church/religion/discernment related.
And Jason (who I have never actually spoken with but based on his facebook page is a pretty nifty person) responded with this: queer liberation theologies and their relationship to making things better for queer youth now as opposed to waiting for some mythical date of things getting better.
To which I said: Ok!
I think that the “It Gets Better” project is a good thing. And not just because I am basically contractually obligated by The Trevor Project to think that. I think that, for what it is, there are no negatives to it.
For what it is.
A mass marketed internet meme with a happy message.
But Jason is right: What is this mythical date we are waiting for for things to get better for queer youth? And why do we have to wait? Why are we saying, quite literally, “things are gonna get easier, …things will get brighter.” Going to… at some point… in the future… the “maybe” is implied.
“It gets better” is catchy, affirming, and concrete. It’s said as a fact. It will absolutely, positively, no questions asked, get better. But that’s not true. It would be more accurate to say “right now it gets better for some people but in order to make it better for everybody then we have to look into ourselves and out at the world and really dig into why things aren’t better right now and that takes a lot of work and stuff so instead I’m going to make an overly positive video.”
But, my god, there’s only so much space in a Youtube video title.
What needs to get better, though? And how can we make that happen?
I was thrown out of a church because I was queer. That story has been told over and over by scores of thousands of people around the world. This institution, this place of hope and love and a forgiving God, kicked me out because of who I love or how I identify. This place that loves everyone can’t love me. Except that is not true. There are spaces that love and accept you for who you are and if there AREN’T then clearly we are not doing our job. If we are talking about Christianity then we are talking a God who, throughout the gospel (literally: good news), sides with the oppressed. In my case, however, I am not talking only about Christianity.
Members of the Unitarian Universalist Association covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Fighting unjust social, economic and political conditions is at the forefront of who we are as a faith tradition. We don’t only acknowledge the inherent worth and dignity, we promise to promote it. To push it forward. To actively engage in working toward a more just and equal society. It is our job that our faith charges us with to not only recognize that inequality for one is inequality for all but to figure out what our part is in changing that.
I am considering ministry, in large part, because I am queer. Because, like it or not, having a queer person standing at the pulpit and saying things is different from having a straight person saying those same things. Because I have things to say that I can say because I am queer.
It changed my life to be thrown out of a religious tradition that I found hope and safety in. It changed my life again when I was told “no, there is a place in religion for you.” Meeting ministers and religious professionals who are actively trying to make the world better, right now, for marginalized communities has been really affirming for me. One of the many reasons I am considering ministry is because I think that it would be an effective and positive use of who I am to align myself with a movement that is working to make the world better.
What are the ways that you can make the world better for LGBTQ youth, right now? Lizard Eater over at “The Journey” has a post up about taking your gay teens to church. I’m going to second that. Let your LGBTQ teen (or younger!) know that there is a religious community that loves who they are and wants them to succeed as an active and happy member of society.
If you are a religious leader? Or a leader of any kind in your congregation? Then you MUST be standing up and saying “no!” when you see injustice, when you see hurt or anger or pain. You need to let the youth and young adults, and everyone else, in your congregation and in your world know that you will not stand for injustice. And you need to tell people why.
Lastly, in order to tell people why, you need to accept that it is the people who are being pushed down by society that are the experts in what they want and need. Learn from them. Put aside your own perceptions and let their often ignored voices be heard.